Joe on the Go

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Not everyone curls up on a wintry January night with a hot toddy. Worldwide, retail sales of chocolate-based hot beverages rose 17 percent to $3.2 billion from 1994 to 1998, a stronger showing than sales of fresh coffee (up 10 percent) or instant coffee (up 12 percent), reports Euromonitor International in its new report, "The World Market for Hot Drinks." Coffee is still brewing, though. Global sales topped $26 billion in 1998 for fresh coffee and $13 billion for the instant variety. Western Europeans appear to be pressed for time these days: Sales of fresh coffee in the region dipped 5 percent during the five-year period, while instant coffee sales surged 11 percent. The Asia-Pacific market, meanwhile, posted a 100 percent increase in sales of chocolate-based hot drinks, fueled in part by research from the Chocolate and Cocoa Association of Japan in 1995 that suggested cocoa may help prevent certain diseases.

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